ERIC Number: EJ942988
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Educational Leaders or Compliant Bureaucrats? Reflections on "Leadership" Preparation
Reitzug, Ulrich C.
Scholar-Practitioner Quarterly, v4 n4 p319-322 Win 2010
There is a commonly held conception that being able to raise a school's test scores as a principal is the hallmark of effective educational leadership. As a professor involved in the preparation of leaders for democratic schools, this author strongly contests this notion, stating that wrenching higher test scores from a group of students and teachers does not constitute educational leadership. Rather, it may constitute nothing more than the successful manipulation of a school's instructional program to comply with the wishes and pressures of educational bureaucrats and political power brokers. Following the dictates of others is hardly leadership; it is compliance and falls far short of the sense of compelling vision that is often articulated as a key characteristic of leadership. The author contends that to be an educational leader in a school striving to be a democracy, a principal must, in a sense, be a prophet. Brueggeman (1978) has noted that the role of a prophet is to "nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the dominant culture." Most schools currently are not democratic. They neither function as democracies nor do they prepare students for democracy. Principals must remember that they ultimately serve students--not policy makers and bureaucrats. Their leadership role is about establishing a loftier vision and standard than the currently dominant one and working with people to embrace and reach that vision. The author suggests that in order to develop educational leaders for this monumental challenge, those involved in the preparation of leaders must prepare them for the schools they enter as well as for the schools they leave behind.
Descriptors: Democracy, Administrator Effectiveness, Instructional Leadership, Leadership Training, Tests, Scores, Compliance (Psychology), Principals, Administrator Education, Administrator Role, Educational Policy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A